In these tough economic times new work is harder and harder to come by. While cost cutting is so very important, you shouldn't cut back too much on your marketing efforts, if you can afford it. Some of the following strategies to get more work, however, cost very little and can be implemented quickly.
- Call Your Existing Clients: Call your existing clients to see how they're doing and ask if they're considering any new work to let you give them a price. You should always keep in regular contact with your clients, but if you haven't before, now is the time to get in the habit of doing this. Remember, just because a client hired you before, even if you did a great job and you and the client got along well, there are a lot of professional land surveyors hungry for work and eager to steal your clients: your client may also be interested in shopping around, too.
- Answer your phones: I'm constantly amazed at how few professional land surveyors either do not answer their phones, or are not prompt in returning calls. If you don't answer your phones, or return calls promptly, you'll never get the client to begin with. Again, prospective clients have a large pool of professional land surveyors to choose from, at every price point (maybe lower than yours), so if you're not in the competition from the get-go (regardless of what your fee may be), you'll be completely out of the running to get this new work.
- Contact past clients that may need new work done: Hopefully you have been diligently creating a complete contact list for all of the people that you deal with in running your professional land surveying company. Names, mailing addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers, to name but a few, are vital business data that you need to collect and keep updated about everyone. Now use it!
- Do guerrilla marketing for a geographic area: Pick an area that you're familiar with, or would like to expand into, and do bulk mailings in that area. Let them know who you are, how to contact you, and how your professional land surveying services can benefit them. I bet you can think of an area, say a large subdivision for example, that you practically surveyed the entire subdivision just to survey one small lot within it. This work, extending beyond the limits of the original surveyed parcel, is an area that you can look for a return on your investment.
- Box in the low-ballers: I've noticed lately, not unlike what has been happening within the financial markets, fear is gripping some of the professional land surveyors in my area. I've seen ridiculously low fees quoted for work that they can't possibly make any money on. In my opinion, to be able to do this work, at low-ball fees, they very well may cut corners in their work. Therefore, whenever you give a quotation, send a mailing to the neighbors and other property owners in the neighborhood. Neighbors may hire you if for no other reason than for a second opinion. If the first professional land surveyor did a good job, then your work should be easier to carry out. If corners were cut, then their client will soon realize that they got exactly what they paid for: very little.
This is just a short list. The point is to not sit back and let the recession happen to you. Take charge and apply yourself, as it's now more than ever a time to become more disciplined in how you manage and run your professional land surveying business. Got any other ideas? Please let us know and share them by posting a comment.
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Eric D. Colburn, PLS, is a successful entrepreneur operating a professional land surveying company and several online websites and blogs. To learn more about Eric D. Colburn, PLS, and read other articles written by him, please click here for his professional land surveying blog at EricColburn.com and here for his professional land surveying company at FosterSurvey.com